Category Archives: Music News

2013 Year in WTF Music Review

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One of my favorite times of the year is December. Some might think that’s because of Christmas… but nay, my favorite holiday is my birthday because we all have some degree of narcissism. Some might think that’s because of the snow… but no, you try walking up UW-Madison’s Bascom Hill in over a foot of snow. Some even might think that it’s because of the holiday season in general… but no, I live in Chicago, IL and I hate tourists so add that with Michigan Avenue and you’ll find I pretty much stay in my house during the holiday season. The reason December is one of my favorite times of the year is because of all the “2013 Year in Review” posts that come out. Whenever I read one of these posts, my thoughts are either 1) “oh right that happened, I tried to forget,” 2) “No way! That totally happened in 1999, not 2013,” or 3) “LOL I should have read the news more often, when did this happen.”

Obviously, this is a music review website, so I should probably focus on 2013 Year in Review: Music, but I really do urge you to take a look at the more general news story versions of 2013 Year in Review posts because I guarantee you missed the dumbest things that happened this year. Here’s my review of 2013 Music though… enjoy…

1. Big artists released new albums.

Katy Perry’s Prism (October 22): First time to my site? I’m obsessed with Katy Perry. Although not the best album of the year (we’ll get to my opinions on the best later), it is hands down an awesome album. Prism doesn’t stray too far from the sounds of Teenage Dream, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for someone like Katy Perry. With hits like “Roar,” “Walking on Air,” “Dark Horse,” and “Unconditionally” already being constantly replayed on the radio after just one month, Katy Perry clearly doesn’t need to change her sound. Plus, she’s Katy Perry – just try not to love her.

Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience (March 19): JT came back. Technically, JT came back twice since The 20/20 Experience was released in two parts. The first part debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 968,000 copies in its first week. People were excited for JT to say the least.

Kanye West’s Yeezus (June 18): Guess what? I’ve never listened to this album. But hey, it came out and it was huge. I haven’t really given Kanye West the time of day since he named his child Blue Ivy. The album deserves some recognition though because Yeezus debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 327,000 copies in its first week. Plus, we’ve all seen that music video for “Bound 2” right?

OneRepublic’s Native (March 26): This album was actually meant for 2012 (circa August 27th, 2012 with “Feel Again”), but wasn’t ready in time, and was thus released in 2013. I have no problem with an artist publically announcing that their album is not ready in time – beautiful things take time, right? And oh my god, Native is beautiful. Native peaked at number four on the Billboard 200, but a solid number one in my heart (still not the best album in my mind, have patience).

Honorable mentions: 1) Beyonce, 4 (March 29); 2) Drake, Nothing Was the Same (September 24); 3) Jay Z, Magna Carta Holy Grail (July 9).

2. There were a lot of really, really bad reunions.

This year was like the reunion of the 90s. First there was Destiny’s Child at the 2013 SuperBowl Half-Time Show. It literally lasted like 20 seconds and I’m pretty sure they didn’t even turn on Kelly or Michelle’s microphones. Great attempt #1 though, Music Industry. The second reunion was NSYNC at the 2013 VMAs. It lasted a little longer, and at one point Justin Timberlake was actually in the background. In addition, the whole time, you’re like “oh their microphones aren’t on either” and then all of the sudden, JC decides to sing the most unnecessary “baby, baby, baby” just to prove he thinks he’s still memorable. The final reunion of 2013 was TLC at the American Music Awards. They sang “Waterfalls.” Like no, “Scrubs” or go home.

3. EDM made some great moves.

Daft Punk. Random Access Memories had to have been one of the most anticipated albums of 2013, or maybe I was just so anxious for it that I felt the rest of the world was too. We hadn’t heard new Daft Punk since Human After All dropped in 2005, so Random Access Memories was eight years overdue. The album is the duo’s most successful album overall, as it debuted at number one in over 20 countries worldwide and eventually reached number one on 23 different charts.

Avicii. True was Avicii’s debut studio album and it is amazing. The album first came to listeners’ ears in April 2013 when Avicii released a 60-minute mix on SoundCloud, and then it continued to reach ears when Avicii played over 40 total minutes of the album at Ultra Music Festival in his set. The three singles released from the album – “Wake Me Up,” “You Make Me,” and “Hey Brother” – have been quite successful, too. Although the album only peaked at number four on the Billboard 200, it’s no doubt that this was an exciting year for Avicii.

EDC. Electronic Daisy Carnival made a lot of moves this year. I don’t think we need to discuss that it happened, that it increased in size, that it spread to new locations, or that it was probably amazing (I obviously didn’t make it this year… or any year so far, but it is on my bucket list). What EDC really taught us this year was the true positive economic impact that festivals have despite what non-festival goers think and protest. If you still don’t believe that festivals are GREAT and POSITIVE, check out Insomniac Event’s Economic Analysis of EDC Chicago 2013.

Swedish House Mafia. Although the soundtrack for the One Last Tour came out in 2012, the tour started and ended in 2013. I had tickets, but school comes first (my mother told me that… trust me, I would have been there) so I didn’t make it. Over 1 million fans saw the end of the Swedish House Mafia era on their last tour – that doesn’t include the people, like myself, who tuned in to see their final performance together at Ultra Music Festival.  “We came, we raved, and we fucking love you.”

4. Miley Cyrus made her mark. It happened, it was necessary to include it in the review, but we don’t need to speak about it more.

5. Nielsen/Billboard released the mid-year Music Industry Report. The trends: vinyl sales up, streams up, digital track sales down. So what we really see here is an increase in hipsters listening to vinyls (just kidding, I have my own collection that I love), a lot of people listening to music on Spotify, and a lot less people purchasing music with a lot more people illegally downloading music. But really, the report is really interesting and I’m very interested to see the end-of-year report, too.

6. A lot of really great albums came out from new artists.

CHVRCHES, The Bones of What You Believe (September 24). While CHVRCHES didn’t first come to the scene in 2013, they’re pretty new and The Bones of What You Believe was their first studio album that dropped this year. The album got some great recognition too: it was number 32 on Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Albums of 2013 and received a score of 81/100 on Metacritic, indicating “universal acclaim.” In addition, it reached number one on the US Independent Albums chart.

Lorde, Pure Heroine (September 27). Lorde has to be one of the biggest new names in 2013. …Like “Royals” – I’ve heard that song every day for the past six months at least. She even just had her cover of the Tears for Fears song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” included on the Catching Fire soundtrack. Her album, Pure Heroine, peaked at number three on the Billboard 200. Lorde is seriously talented and her voice is seriously unique. The girl is 16 – ponder that for a bit.

HAIM, Days Are Gone (September 30). HAIM (anyone Jewish, please help) has actually been around for a while, but their first album, Days Are Gone, was just released in 2013, a few months ago. The album has some great new sounds (similar to Fleetwood Mac, I hear), but my favorite is definitely “Send Me Down.”

7. My personal opinion… The Number 1 Album of 2013: The Great Gatsby Soundtrack.

Do soundtracks count as albums when it comes to figuring out the best one of the year? They do in my mind. The Gatsby soundtrack was huge. If you didn’t like the Gatsby soundtrack, it’s safe to say you actually do not have a soul. Regardless of your feelings toward the movie (if you didn’t like it, you didn’t read the book, plain and simple), you have to love the soundtrack. There were huge names associated with this album: Jay Z, Beyoncé, Will.I.Am, Fergie, and Florence + the Machine. There were new artists on this album: Lana Del Rey, The xx, Gotye, Nero, and Sia (ok those aren’t new, but less known at the time). When the track list and first trailer for the movie including some of the songs came out, the album started becoming highly anticipated. The album blew away predicted sales and chart performance. Within its first week of release, it had sold over 137,000 copies and was at number two on the Billboard 200. The Gatsby soundtrack deserved all the recognition it got and more – my Twitter feed and my Facebook news feed were filled with Gatsby Soundtrack links for weeks after the release – it was everywhere and it deserved to be. Sure, it didn’t strike a number one, but sometimes we need to look at the content of the album rather than the sales and chart positions of the album.

8. Finally, the end of year mashups that were released YESTERDAY:

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Spring Awakening Giveaway… Stay Tuned.

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So, unfortunately there’s these concepts that go by the name of a job and poor college kids. Therefore, it pains me to say that since I have a job and poor college kid friends, I won’t be making it to Spring Awakening this year despite making sure I was at my computer the second tickets went on sale and posted hundreds of social media posts about how excited I was to go to the festival. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to help out other poor college kids have the chance to attend the festival. So, I’m going have a ticket giveaway and let someone else go in my place. As soon as I work out the legalities of it, I’ll post the details. Seriously, though, I fully understand not being able to attend the most anticipated concerts and festivals of your year simply because you can’t afford it or your friends can’t afford it, so I promise to make it “no purchase necessary” to enter. Be sure to LIKE WTF Music Review on Facebook so you don’t miss the announcement! In the meantime, let’s address some of the fantastic DJs appearing at Spring Awakening this year and mourn in my loss of not being able to attend.

1. Calvin Harris

Luckily, I was able to crawl through the mud at Lollapalooza last summer and see Calvin Harris, so it’s not the end of the world, but it also really is because he’s my favorite. And on top of it, he just released 18 Months so it would have been like a whole second show. The best part about Calvin Harris is that he doesn’t play his own original tracks – he remixes each and every one so it’s not just listening to some DJ push play on stage. And I mean, it’s not like he’s hard on the eyes or anything.

2. ATB

I’ve been listening to ATB since I was just a little pre-teen living in Arlington, Texas and my mom would drive around listening to the “Gay Radio Station.” I haven’t kept up to date with them so recently so I can’t say they were at the top of my list of acts to see, but I’m sure they would have been great.

3. Bingo Players

If you’re listening to this song and thinking “Oh my god, Flo Rida,” I seriously want you to exit this webpage as fast as you possibly. If you’re listening to this song and dancing because you love it so much, you’ll understand how upset I am that first, I missed Bingo Players when they came to Madison last fall, and two, that I’m missing Bingo Players when they come to Chicago this summer. I just can’t get it right.

4. Dirty South

Alright, so luckily I get to see Alesso this Saturday night, so at least I might get to hear the song that made me fall in love with Dirty South, but then again, I’m also not entirely sure who to give full credit to for “City of Dreams.”

5. Krewella

I won’t get too upset about missing Krewella at Spring Awakening… until I realize that I’ll probably also miss seeing them in Madison on May 2. Seriously, I just need like one friend to attend that concert with me and I’ll feel like one fraction better about missing Spring Awakening. I’m accepting applications for concert-attending friend now.

6. Nero

You know, I was really looking forward to giving the Nero crowd a second chance after leaving in fear of my life at Lollapalooza last year. I mean, I was really upset at myself for leaving in the middle of their show last summer so when I saw they were coming to Spring Awakening, my reaction was relief… until now when I realize I can’t go and it’s like “lol at my life.”

7. Nervo

Lol. Kidding. That’s a joke. I’m not missing Nervo. There’s no way. Realistically, however, I will end up missing Nervo. I’m just going to prepare myself for a letdown now. Nervo is definitely the show I was looking most forward to at Spring Awakening though so whoever gets to enjoy them, you’re in for a real treat, and I’m extremely jealous.

8. Nicky Romero

Notice how the song I chose to feature on this post includes Nervo? Yeah. That excited. Anyway, Nicky Romero is another that I’m truly upset about missing. I’m sure he’ll come back to Chicago soon though – there will be other times, hopefully.

9. Porter Robinson

While Porter Robinson is fantastic live, I can’t say I’m too upset about missing him because I’ve seen him twice: once before Tiesto in Madison and once at Lollapalooza. He is really good though. Again, there’s nothing truly sensational about his performance, but he still puts on a good show that keeps you dancing through its entirety.

10. Zedd

If Nervo and Zedd were conveniently there on the same day or night when I wasn’t working and had a magical friend with money and interest in the same music as me, life would be perfect. Honestly, I didn’t really know who Zedd was until the first time I used my Shazam app and discovered “Spectrum.” I fell in love. Then, he released his debut album, Clarity, and I became obsessed. First, he’s funny. Second, he makes amazing music. Third, he’s adorable. Fourth, I was really hoping we could lock eyes at Spring Awakening and run away together. I guess that won’t be happening though.

So, that’s my ideal Spring Awakening lineup. There’s definitely more than 10 DJs that I want to see, but those are the 10 that I’m extremely upset that I’m missing. I guess when I bought my tickets a few months ago, I didn’t really think about the fact that you shouldn’t buy tickets to a 3-day festival alone and assume that someone else will conveniently also purchase 3-day tickets to the same festival when you don’t really have any friends who have the same passion for EDM as you do. So, as long as I can’t get sued for giving away my Spring Awakening tickets, I plan on giving them to you – a reader and a music lover. Stay tuned to WTF Music Review on Facebook (LIKE THE PAGE – this is how bloggers get followers, they bribe them, duh).

#TBT: Music in 1981

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Click here to LIKE WTF Music Review. (So I look popular).

After not checking the iTunes store for 2 weeks, I checked it out today and I was like “WTF this is the worst Top 10 list I’ve ever seen.” Although right now my iTunes library is on shuffle and I’m also like “WTF this is the worst music I’ve ever heard.” So, take that as you will. This caused me to reflect on the good days of music. Naturally, I’m starting with 1981, which, since I wasn’t technically (but really in no way shape or form) alive, I’m relying on a lot of Google to point me to the big moments.

1. MTV Launched on August 1, 1981

…And 31 years later, we’re still dealing with it. But really, it was awesome in 1981. Whereas now its tagline is probably something along the lines of “I want to be Made into a Jersey Shore Teen Mom,” when it was launched, it was “I want my MTV.” Real surprise: the “M” actually stood for “Music.” LOL. Yeah. Anyway, they opened with The Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star” and with that music videos were born. It was 24 hours each day of music videos – what could be better than that? MTV gave name to people like Michael Jackson and Madonna (well the Madonna of the 80s – the name she has now is all on her own). To think that we went from “Ladies and Gentleman, rock and rock” to “Next on 16 and Pregnant” in 30 years is just pathetic.

2. Kim Carnes – “Bette Davis Eyes”

This was the number 1 song of the year according to Billboard’s end of the year charts. And that’s also really all I have to comment on about this song.

3. This song was released.

And then we all wished we were Jessie’s Girl. Also, if you don’t know this song then you’ve been living under a rock because every good samaritan should know every lyric (or at least be able to make up some really good substitutes like me) to this song.

4. This album was released.

On July 31, 1981, Journey released the album Escape and it included one of the greatest songs (duh, in my opinion) ever: “Don’t Stop Believin’.” However, that song is clearly only of the greatest songs ever in my opinion because it peaked at number 9 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Other singles off this album included “Who’s Crying Now?” at #4 and “Open Arms” at #2. But like really, who cared about any song other than “Don’t Stop Believin”? Oh, that’s just me? K.

5. Bob Marley passed away.

On May 11, 1981, Bob Marley passed away due to cancer. But don’t worry, to this day, every teenager still goes through a phase in his life where he gets high and pretends that Bob Marley is singing the anthem to his life.

Calvin Harris new album, 18 Months, video preview

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Calvin Harris new album 18 Months due out October 30th

18 Months on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/CH18MonthsDLX

The track listing for 18 MONTHS is:
1. Green Valley
2. Bounce (feat. Kelis) (***)
3. Feel So Close (***)
4. We Found Love (feat. Rihanna) (***)
5. We’ll Be Coming Back (feat. Example) (***)
6. Mansion
7. Iron w/ Nicky Romero
8. I Need Your Love (feat. Ellie Goulding) (***)
9. Drinking From The Bottle (feat. Tinie Tempah)
10. Sweet Nothing (feat. Florence Welch) (***)
11. School
12. Here 2 China w/ Dillon Francis (feat. Dizzee Rascal)
13. Let’s Go (feat. Ne-Yo) (***)
14. Awooga
15. Thinking About You (feat. Ayah)

(***) = Available Now

Mumford & Sons Ticket Giveaway at Bull&Bear TONIGHT August 15

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Just 10 days after Mumford & Sons released their first single on their new album, “I Will Wait,”  the band will be performing at Chicago’s own Chicago Theater on Thursday, August 16, 2012. The show sold out just 4 hours after the tickets went on sale and since there have been so many tickets scalped thus far, not even StubHub is offering tickets to the sold-out show on their website anymore. However, if you’re in the Chicago area tonight, Bull & Bear and 93XRT have got 10 pairs of tickets to give away. I highly suggest checking out Bull & Bear for your chance to win… maybe even try out the Chicken Sandwich or B&B Kobe Burger (my personal favorites on the menu). Event starts at 7pm and giveaway is around 9pm and all you have to do is sign-up with 93XRT when you’re there! Good luck!

WTF’s Review of 2011’s Music Industry. Shockingly, it was positive.

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I think last year, at this time, I made a prediction that the music in 2011 was basically just going to suck. However, I think I have been proven wrong with the impact of Adele and the advancing of the indie genre with Bon Iver and Mumford & Sons. We had the introduction of Beats by Dr. Dre (which I’m happy to say that, thanks to Santa Claus and Christmas, I am currently listening to music through right now), and Spotify brought a new way of launching a variety of music to listeners (furthering the idea of the Long Tail. The music industry also transitioned from a business model to a subscription model (which thanks to UW-Madison’s fine, fine education, I actually understand what that means now… well, sort of).

Before you can discuss the rest of the positives of the music industry’s bounce back in 2011, you have to understand the state it was in before. In February, EMI, the record label for The Beatles and Pink Floyd in the past and Katy Perry and Coldplay in the present, hit bottom and was split in half: its recording division being sold to Universal $1.9 billion and its publishing division to Sony for $2.2 billion (Knopper, 2011). On a smaller level, Chicago’s Q101 and New York’s WRXP, two alternative radio stations responsible for the introduction of Coldplay and The Black Keys, left the music industry and switched to talk radio. The most obvious, we lost a music legend, Amy Winehouse.

So, moving on to the positives. According to Rolling Stone magazine, The Year of Adele had a major impact on the music industry. Her album, 21, sold 14.5 million copies in 10 months and boosted the overall album sales by three percent in the US. Then, there was the introduction of, and fight over the control of, the Music Cloud – Spotify, iTunes Match, Google Music, Amazon Cloud, and MOG. (For more information on those, check out Rolling Stone’s article “Digital Music’s Cloud Revolution.”)

I think that Billboard.biz editor Jem Aswad sums it up best: “…we all continue to wrap our heads, hearts and wallets around a world in which music isn’t an object or even a possession anymore, but – in terms of artist’ livelihood, anyway – a means to sell tickets, placements, merch, swag, scents, booze, and every other conceivable revenue tributary of Brand Me.”

With that in mind, let me introduce the Top 30 Songs of 2011, my way.

There are some general guidelines for my list. First, it was created based on an average rating compiled from Billboard Top 100 Songs of 2011, iTunes Rewind 2011, and Rolling Stone’s Top 50 Singles from 2011. Second, the song had to be on a minimum of two lists in order to be eligible for WTF Music Review’s list (as much as I wanted OneRepublic’s “Good Life” to be on my list, I had to cut it). Third, I did not count a Not Rated (NR) as a 0, but instead I just did an average based out of two; therefore, it might not be the most reliable list, but who cares. Fourth, if an artist had more than one song on my list of 30 Songs of 2011, I don’t bother repeating myself so the second (or third, fourth, etc.) song doesn’t have information to go along with it. Fifth, and finally, I’m only talking about the top 10 songs because I realize how long this post is already and I need to take into account the “news hole” (check out what I learned in my Journalism class this past semester). Deal with it.

1. Adele – “Rolling in the Deep”

(Billboard = 1, iTunes = 1, Rolling Stone = 1)

Adele had a great year, hence why all three lists had her hit single, “Rolling in the Deep” ranked number one of 2011. Her album itself, 21, sold 14.3 million copies.  “Rolling in the Deep” spent 51 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100, just jumping up six spots this past week to number 35. Although Adele did not take away any American Music Awards for “Rolling in the Deep, the single won Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing in the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards. Recently, the single was listed as a 2012 Grammy nomination for Record of the Year, Best Short Form Music Video, and Song of the Year; in addition, the producer of the Record, Paul Epworth, was nominated for Producer of the Year. It’s no argument that this song should be number one (and believe me, I tried really hard to figure out a way to put Katy Perry at number one). The most current rumor, according to Billboard.biz and Rolling Stone Magazine is that Adele is currently slated for two performances in 2012 and a tour, but with her recent surgery and two cancelations in 2011, I can’t be too sure. All I know is, we definitely have not heard the last of Adele.

2. LMFAO – “Party Rock Anthem”

(Billboard = 2, iTunes = 2, Rolling Stone = NR)

Although not present on iTunes or Billboard’s top albums of 2011 lists, LMFAO’s album Sorry for Party Rocking did a pretty nice job on its sales this year. Also, to be honest, Billboard’s list is a little less than trusting seeing as it has three Justin Bieber albums and two Glee soundtrack albums on it. The song had an extraordinary amount of radio airplay time, not just for a season, but also for a prolonged period of time. In addition, the memorable video was nominated for Best Choreography at the 2011 VMAs. Then, LMFAO closed the AMAs by performing this song, as well as their second single “Sexy and I Know It,” even bringing on guests such as Justin Bieber (who completely embarrassed himself) and David Haselhoff, followed by parading the stage in their underwear.

3. Katy Perry – “Firework”

(Billboard = 3, iTunes = 3, Rolling Stone = NR)

Katy Perry had a record-tying year, proving to be extremely successful overall. Teenage Dream was not a new album to the year – it was actually released in August 2010. However, “Firework” was the third single from the album to reach the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot 100, preceded by “California Gurls” and “Teenage Dream.” Katy did not stop at “Firework,” however, as she followed up with two more number one singles from the same album, “E.T.” and “Last Friday Night,” allowing her to tie Michael Jackson’s Billboard record. This accomplishment didn’t go unnoticed since Katy Perry was awarded with an achievement award at the 2011 American Music Awards after giving an acoustic performance of her current sixth single, “The One That Got Away,” which is currently sitting at number three on the Hot 100 chart.  Currently, “Firework” is also nominated for the Record of the Year Grammy, along with Best Pop Solo Performance. At the VMAs, it took Video of the Year, but Katy Perry was nominated for a total of 10 awards. Finally, Katy Perry wrapped up her California Dreams Tour this year after visiting 94 cities and performing 122 times. Billboard rated it the number 13 tour of 2011.

4. Bruno Mars – “Grenade”

(Billboard = 6, iTunes = 4, Rolling Stone = NR)

I genuinely did not think this song did as well as it did, and was extremely shocked when I saw it rated so high on the end-of-the-year charts. The only real thing I remember about this song is all the comments mocking the lyrics of the song, including ones like, “Why would someone be throwing a grenade at a woman?” Regardless, it was a good song. “Grenade” is up for Record of the Year in the Grammys this upcoming February. The album which the song is off of, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, is nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album in the 2012 Grammys. For Bruno Mars himself in 2011, he performed a tribute to Amy Winehouse and proceeded to pick up his first AMA, winning Favorite Pop/Rock Male.

5. Pitbull – “Give Me Everything”

(Billboard = 5, iTunes = 6, Rolling Stone = NR)

The most overplayed song… ever. To me, it was really catchy at first and I listened to it all the time, then the radio caught on, and I listened to it a lot less. The song did really well though. Pitbull performed this song at the 2011 VMAs, though it was not nominated for any awards. In addition, “Give Me Everything” peaked at number one on Billboard’s Hot 100; the song is now falling off the chart, but has been on it for 39-running weeks. However, the song’s reign did not end in the US, as it also reached number one on the U.K. Singles Chart. However, the song also got some negative PR this year when Lindsay Lohan sued Pitbull for referencing her in the song… really, Linds, get over it.

6. Katy Perry feat Kanye West – “E.T.”

(Billboard = 4, iTunes = 7, Rolling Stone = NR)

See Katy Perry “Firework”

7. Cee Lo Green – “Forget You”

(Billboard = 7, iTunes = 5, Rolling Stone = NR)

I remember driving around to this song this past spring, but after a while, it became one of the many songs archived on my iPod never to be played again. It was not a bad song; I just don’t necessarily see what was so great about it to make it to an average of number seven on this list for 2011. In fact, its presence was most prominent in 2010, when it released in August, and was nominated for multiple Grammys (Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Short Form Music Video), as well as won Best Urban/Alternative Performance. It did have presence in 2011 though, when, in March, it became the best-selling song in the USA in 2011, selling 1,865,000 times.

8. Maroon 5 feat Christina Aguilera – “Moves Like Jagger”

(Billboard = 9, iTunes = 8, Rolling Stone = NR)

This song, as well as Adam Levine’s appearance on Christina Aguilera’s “The Voice,” really helped boost both Aguilera’s and Maroon5’s success this year. “Moves Like Jagger” reached number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 the week of September 10. This song has also been nominated for a 2012 Grammy: Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. The song has been listed for a total of 453 weeks in 21 different charts, which according to acharts.us, is more than any other Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera song.

9. Nicki Minaj – “Super Bass”

(Billboard = 8, iTunes = 10, Rolling Stone = NR)

Along with Adele and Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj owned 2011. Currently, she is nominated for Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance (for “Moment 4 Life”), and Best Rap Album (for Pink Friday) in the 2012 Grammys. In addition, “Moment 4 Life” was nominated for Best Collaboration in the 2011 VMAs. Specifically, “Super Bass” won the VMA for Best Hip-Hop Video and was also nominated for Best Female Video. There was also the YouTube sensation Sophia Grace that grew famous from their cover of “Super Bass.” This song has been on Billboard’s Hot 100 for a total of 20 weeks, peaking at number one. Also, look out for Nicki Minaj’s one-of-a-kind Barbie doll in 2012… uh, enough said.

10. Foster the People – “Pumped Up Kicks”

(Billboard = 13, iTunes = 9, Rolling Stone = 11)

It’s nice to see this kind of music in the top 10 songs of the year. First, I’d like to encourage everyone to pick up the rest of Foster the People’s album, Torches, because it is exceptional. “Pumped Up Kicks” was overplayed this year, which would have killed it… if it weren’t so good. I like to call it a unique sound. The song was nominated for Best Rock Video at the VMAs, but sadly did not win. The song also never reached number one on Billboard’s Hot 100; it peaked at number three where it remained for eight weeks.

11. The Black Eyed Peas – “Just Can’t Get Enough”

(Billboard = 10, iTunes = 14, Rolling Stone = NR)

12. Jennifer Lopez – “On The Floor”

(Billboard = 11, iTunes = 15, Rolling Stone = NR)

13. Lady Gaga – “Born This Way”

(Billboard = 18, iTunes = 11, Rolling Stone = NR)

14. Britney Spears – “Til the World Ends”

(Billboard = 27, iTunes = NR, Rolling Stone = 3)

15. Enrique Iglesias – “Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You)”

(Billboard = 16, iTunes = 16, Rolling Stone = NR)

16. Chris Brown – “Look at Me Now”

(Billboard = 21, iTunes = 13, Rolling Stone = NR)

17. Adele – “Someone Like You”

(Billboard = 24, iTunes = 12, Rolling Stone = NR)

17. Rihanna – “S&M”

(Billboard = 12, iTunes = 24, Rolling Stone = NR)

17. Lady Gaga – “The Edge of Glory”

(Billboard = 29, iTunes = NR, Rolling Stone = 7)

20. P!nk – “F**kin’ Perfect”

(Billboard = 19, iTunes = 20, Rolling Stone = NR)

20. P!nk – “Raise Your Glass”

(Billboard = 17, iTunes = 22, Rolling Stone = NR)

20. Katy Perry – “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”

(Billboard = 14, iTunes = 25, Rolling Stone = NR)

23. Bruno Mars – “The Lazy Song”

(Billboard = 26, iTunes = 18, Rolling Stone = NR)

24. Wiz Khalifa – “Black and Yellow”

(Billboard = 31, iTunes = 17, Rolling Stone = NR)

25. Lupe Fiasco – “The Show Goes On”

(Billboard = 28, iTunes = 21, Rolling Stone = NR)

26. Ke$ha – “Blow”

(Billboard = 33, iTunes = 19, Rolling Stone = NR)

26. Jeremih & 50 Cent – “Down on Me”

(Billboard = 22, iTunes = 30, Rolling Stone = NR)

26. Lil Wayne – “6 Foot 7 Foot”

(Billboard = 41, iTunes = 28, Rolling Stone = 9)

29. Ke$ha – “We R Who We R”

(Billboard = 30, iTunes = 27, Rolling Stone = NR)

30. The Black Eyed Peas – “This Time (Dirty Bit)”

(Billboard = 37, iTunes = 23, Rolling Stone = NR)

Ha! You thought I was done? Never. The year still had more great music. Now, it’s obvious that the album of the year was Adele’s 21, but how about the other albums that were released in 2011 that never quite made it to the top of the charts? First, there was Wisconsin’s finest Bon Iver’s album Bon Iver. Not only did it help me focus on my studies, but the song “Holocene” received Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Then, the album as a whole was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album. In addition, Bon Iver was nominated for Best New Artist himself. Bon Iver had a big impact on music in 2011: it helped bring the indie music world to big time music industry with its Grammy nominations.

Another album I must discuss is Florence + the Machine’s Ceremonials. The album, which was just released in late October/early November, depending on where you live (which we all know I lived in the UK that day), although did not sell as many copies as the group’s first album, Lungs, is sure to continue being a big hit in 2012. Already, it has had two big hits, “What the Water Gave Me” and “Shake It Out,” and the group was recently seen performing on Good Morning America’s Fall Concert Series. In addition, they have already announced a UK tour for next year, and hopefully, for my sake, will visit the US very soon.

FOR THE FINALE! Music has had a good year. Physical album sales dropped 10 percent in 2010, but with the help of Adele, rose three percent in 2011. It was also expected that in 2011, digital sales would jump 10 percent. In general, the music didn’t suck too bad either – I mean, I’m thrilled to have the Artist of the Year be Adele rather than a no-talent rap star (lots of offense should be taken there). I can’t predict where music will go in 2012, but I’m hoping it continues to improve. Adele’s reign will end and will hopefully be followed with another album (23, perhaps?). Katy Perry will either break the record or peak at number three. Indie music might continue to make its way up the popular music ladder. Radio stations might continue to replay the same ten songs on a loop. The Cloud might change music, as we know it, forever. Hey, Kelly Clarkson came back this year… maybe The Spice Girls will come back in 2012. There’s no way to really predict what will happen. The music industry always seems to surprise us. What I know is that I’ll be here to make more sarcastic comments along the way.

OneRepublic’s Grammys Galore & Christmas Special!

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FROM TOTAL ASSAULT:

OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder Nominated for 2 Grammy Awards

New Song “Christmas Without You” on iTunes Now

Ryan Tedder, lead singer/songwriter/producer of the multi-platinum selling band OneRepublic has been nominated for two Grammy Awards. Capping off a year where OneRepublic has topped the charts, Tedder was recognized by The Recording Academy as the nominations for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards were announced in a live broadcast on CBS this week.

Tedder received a Grammy nod in two categories:  Album of the Year for Adele’s “21,” which he co-wrote and produced the song “Rumour Has It” and co-wrote “Turning Tables,” as well as a nomination for Producer of the Year Non-Classical for his work with Adele, Beyonce, Cobra Starship, Colbie Caillat, Gavin DeGraw, Jennifer Hudson and  Demi Lovato.

OneRepublic also kicked off the holiday season with a brand new song called “Christmas Without You” which features cover art designed by Ryan himself. Check out the band performing the song live at the National Christmas Tree Lighting this week, and head to iTunes to grab it now.